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    The employment data above are from Randall Parker (seasonally adjusted for what it's worth), and originally the Labor Department. Randall had it as a tabular display, but I think a simple bar plot is more illustrative. The percentage of unmarried births is from the Census. It looks like Americans with university degrees or higher are...
  • @Matt_
    Interesting idea. Few more graphs from GSS to try and test:

    http://imgur.com/YwdeIdv

    http://imgur.com/pmD6Kfl

    http://imgur.com/3Rv4h9p

    I don't see too much evidence for an uptick in number of children among affluent groups in recent year, using either the class or degree level variables on GSS. This may be too coarse for what you are talking about though.

    On a tangent, in the overall sample it doesn't look like subjective class (as a proxy for affluence) really matters at all for number of children when education is controlled for, with the most significant effect with direction (in terms of number of samples) looks like mild positive association of college graduation and class status with higher numbers of children.

    One notable threshold that was crossed sometime in the last twenty-five years is that the number of children per lifetime for African American women fell below that of white women for pretty much the first time since meaningful post-emancipation statistics have been available.

    Also, in terms of sources, I generally look to vital statistics reports (on births, deaths, etc.) and the Department of Commerce’s census reports (the Census Bureau is in the Department of Commerce). These are comprehensive complete data sets rather than statistical samples, and are more focused on a single purpose, so they are more accurate than the GSS for this narrow purpose.

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  • @ohwilleke
    Your points on family size aren't wrong, but the strong recent trend since about the 1990s has been for lower income families to have fewer kids than they did in earlier years and for more affluent families to have more kids than they did in earlier years (often with fertility treatments).

    Interesting idea. Few more graphs from GSS to try and test:

    http://imgur.com/YwdeIdv

    http://imgur.com/pmD6Kfl

    http://imgur.com/3Rv4h9p

    I don’t see too much evidence for an uptick in number of children among affluent groups in recent year, using either the class or degree level variables on GSS. This may be too coarse for what you are talking about though.

    On a tangent, in the overall sample it doesn’t look like subjective class (as a proxy for affluence) really matters at all for number of children when education is controlled for, with the most significant effect with direction (in terms of number of samples) looks like mild positive association of college graduation and class status with higher numbers of children.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    One notable threshold that was crossed sometime in the last twenty-five years is that the number of children per lifetime for African American women fell below that of white women for pretty much the first time since meaningful post-emancipation statistics have been available.

    Also, in terms of sources, I generally look to vital statistics reports (on births, deaths, etc.) and the Department of Commerce's census reports (the Census Bureau is in the Department of Commerce). These are comprehensive complete data sets rather than statistical samples, and are more focused on a single purpose, so they are more accurate than the GSS for this narrow purpose.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Sean

    It looks like Americans with university degrees or higher are basically at full employment.
     
    You said a while ago that:-

    In the near to medium term future it seems plausible that the bottom 90% of the population will be employed in occupations which serve the demand of the top 10% for “authentic” human servility and handcrafts. http://www.unz.com/gnxp/why-cgi-will-not-eliminate-porn-actresses/
     
    That future 90% will in many cases be the children of the Americans with university degrees or higher.

    We still have elections though, and the 90% will be able to easily outvote the 10%. And even if we didn’t have elections, there’s always non-electoral politics at play. Encouraging poorer people to immigrate can mitigate this as their material prospects improve and they thus have less hostility towards the 10%, but this is temporary at best, as their children grow up in the US and don’t have a poorer country as a reference. Immigration would have to be continually encouraged, but that just introduces another destabilizing dynamic.

    It’s hard to see how this would persist.

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  • @ohwilleke
    Your points on family size aren't wrong, but the strong recent trend since about the 1990s has been for lower income families to have fewer kids than they did in earlier years and for more affluent families to have more kids than they did in earlier years (often with fertility treatments).

    Yeah, I have frequently noted that the oft-cited never-married mother is much more likely to have a child, not children these days. And across lifetime children ever born for post 1990s women, married women continue to outpace never-married women by quite a bit in family size despite the higher ages of marriage. Never-married women have one kid early in their 20s while married women marry in their late 20s or so and have 2-4 kids. Those are the current broad general trends. Many married women marry younger and have slightly more kids at the margin, on top of that, of course.

    The fertility treatment thing has dramatically reduced itself in recent years, except at the margins in terms of surrogacy which for obvious reasons is hard to account for and anyway isn’t very many people/births.

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  • @Matt_
    Re: economic differences with I can think of an effects around association between numbers of children and education that could interact:

    - Lower education folk tend to have higher numbers of children, in marriage and out. Possibly that adds to economic stresses on married couples, to lead to divorce, with women more likely to regard the male as a deadweight taking resources from the child and to financial pressure against marrying. May be less true for higher education folk, with fewer children and also more likely to be "empty nesters".

    - At the same time, at least for low education folk, as distinct from working class, decreasing family sizes since at least the 1970s (per GSS) also could decrease the motivation to marry, if lower education people were marrying to have families. I get the sense marriage among highly educated often has and always has had more status symbolic functions (it seems more of an elaborate, ridiculous dance among higher social classes with announcements to newspapers and big parties and the like), and less of a function to simply bring up kids "right". At any rate high educated have reduced family sizes less. Smaller numbers of children seems to be one where the "two Americas" are "coming together".

    But really that's just in theory, and I have no real evidence for that.

    (The idea of Coming Apart, if simplified to the online soundbite, as higher education folk representing continuity older American ideal of average America, marriage and kids previously held by the low education Working Class seems a bit deceptive because high education folk don't really have the family sizes to actually match the older ideal of intact working child rearing families. Never really have had them maybe, as work, career, leisure, entertainment and entertaining have always had a higher status and are more central to life among the higher social / educational strata, who formed the old leisure class. The new upper class seems to work long hours, but cynically I wonder how much of that is truly a rebirth of the old leisure class dressing play as work to shore up their legitimacy within a meritocracy, and the new upper class really are just more straightforwardly heirs to the famously unfecund and unconventional early 20th century leisure class familiar through literature and entertainment.)

    Your points on family size aren’t wrong, but the strong recent trend since about the 1990s has been for lower income families to have fewer kids than they did in earlier years and for more affluent families to have more kids than they did in earlier years (often with fertility treatments).

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    • Replies: @The Practical Conservative
    Yeah, I have frequently noted that the oft-cited never-married mother is much more likely to have a child, not children these days. And across lifetime children ever born for post 1990s women, married women continue to outpace never-married women by quite a bit in family size despite the higher ages of marriage. Never-married women have one kid early in their 20s while married women marry in their late 20s or so and have 2-4 kids. Those are the current broad general trends. Many married women marry younger and have slightly more kids at the margin, on top of that, of course.

    The fertility treatment thing has dramatically reduced itself in recent years, except at the margins in terms of surrogacy which for obvious reasons is hard to account for and anyway isn't very many people/births.
    , @Matt_
    Interesting idea. Few more graphs from GSS to try and test:

    http://imgur.com/YwdeIdv

    http://imgur.com/pmD6Kfl

    http://imgur.com/3Rv4h9p

    I don't see too much evidence for an uptick in number of children among affluent groups in recent year, using either the class or degree level variables on GSS. This may be too coarse for what you are talking about though.

    On a tangent, in the overall sample it doesn't look like subjective class (as a proxy for affluence) really matters at all for number of children when education is controlled for, with the most significant effect with direction (in terms of number of samples) looks like mild positive association of college graduation and class status with higher numbers of children.
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  • This discussion on divorce is interesting. Regardless of whether the decision to divorce is more based upon economics or sex, I think it’s likely that class-based differences in time preference play a significant role, since we know lower SES people have a present time preference. Someone who is self aware and takes the longer view will realize that even if their own relationship is currently going through a more rocky period that any marriage will eventually reach the point of relatively low passion and bickering.

    Also, I have to wonder if the “social contagion” element is significant here. I know studies have concluded, for example, that merely having a social network which is mostly overweight will drive an individual to eat more. Similarly I would expect having many friends and family members who have had divorces (particularly recently) would make one more likely to think that it is an acceptable thing to do.

    Regardless, divorce is not a new thing by any means. The divorce rate peaked around 1980, when 22.6 out over every 1,000 married women divorced. By 2009 the number was down to 16.4 out of every 1,000 married women. As should be obvious by the number of out-of-wedlock births noted above, it appears that a significant proportion of people who would have gotten divorced 30 years ago, or remained in an unhappy marriage 60 years ago, simply never get married at all.

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  • @ohwilleke
    The story behind the story is economic.

    Working class men have seen the job market stagnate for them since the 1970s - their real wages have been flat and unemployment has been significant. Working class women have seen the job market for them improve dramatically since then, and the jobs that working class women are employed in have minimal penalties for interruptions in work history or seniority to care for children. After centuries of being economically dependent upon their partners, they ceased to be economically dependent upon them and economic basis of marriage which was the main glue holding it together fell apart.

    Basically, working class Americans are not getting married and are getting divorced when they do marry, because adding a man to the economic unit isn't adding anything for long enough stretches of time to wreck marriages.

    In contrast, college educated men have seen their economic circumstances surge since the 1970s with growing real wages and sustained low unemployment. And while college educated women have likewise seen their economic opportunities surge, the economic penalty that they pay for time out of the work force in professions like law and medicine and senior management, is intense. But, many college education women are still determined to make those sacrifices to have children, knowing that they have husbands who can support them. So, college educated women who have children have far more to loose from not marrying or getting divorced than working class women.

    As a result, working class families are in disarray, while college educated couples have stable families. A lot of the "family values" rhetoric on the right flows from the knowledge that working class families are falling apart and having the wrong ideas about why this is happening.

    The other side point (as other comments have noted) is that the SES percentile associated with college, some college, HS and no HS has shifted, so that no HS is now a much lower percentile population than it used to be (and HS as well), while college is diluted, due to higher educational attainment across the board.

    Re: economic differences with I can think of an effects around association between numbers of children and education that could interact:

    - Lower education folk tend to have higher numbers of children, in marriage and out. Possibly that adds to economic stresses on married couples, to lead to divorce, with women more likely to regard the male as a deadweight taking resources from the child and to financial pressure against marrying. May be less true for higher education folk, with fewer children and also more likely to be “empty nesters”.

    - At the same time, at least for low education folk, as distinct from working class, decreasing family sizes since at least the 1970s (per GSS) also could decrease the motivation to marry, if lower education people were marrying to have families. I get the sense marriage among highly educated often has and always has had more status symbolic functions (it seems more of an elaborate, ridiculous dance among higher social classes with announcements to newspapers and big parties and the like), and less of a function to simply bring up kids “right”. At any rate high educated have reduced family sizes less. Smaller numbers of children seems to be one where the “two Americas” are “coming together”.

    But really that’s just in theory, and I have no real evidence for that.

    (The idea of Coming Apart, if simplified to the online soundbite, as higher education folk representing continuity older American ideal of average America, marriage and kids previously held by the low education Working Class seems a bit deceptive because high education folk don’t really have the family sizes to actually match the older ideal of intact working child rearing families. Never really have had them maybe, as work, career, leisure, entertainment and entertaining have always had a higher status and are more central to life among the higher social / educational strata, who formed the old leisure class. The new upper class seems to work long hours, but cynically I wonder how much of that is truly a rebirth of the old leisure class dressing play as work to shore up their legitimacy within a meritocracy, and the new upper class really are just more straightforwardly heirs to the famously unfecund and unconventional early 20th century leisure class familiar through literature and entertainment.)

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    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    Your points on family size aren't wrong, but the strong recent trend since about the 1990s has been for lower income families to have fewer kids than they did in earlier years and for more affluent families to have more kids than they did in earlier years (often with fertility treatments).
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  • They are not in the top 10% of workers by income, they represent a much smaller slice of workers. College-educated women also marry in their 20s, not their 30s.

    As for divorce rates, it’s hard to say. There’s just so few of the kind of guy you’re speaking of that the divorce rate would have to be derived from other data.

    The economics are much more important than you’re giving credence to, though.

    And you can look at the canaries in the coal mine in the black community for why the divorce rates are increasing among blue collar whites.

    It’s easy to tell a woman things will improve in six months, until the woman notices that they don’t over and over again with not just her husband, but all the other husbands too. It’s not six months, it’s two years, he says she can stay home after the next kid, but they always seem to need her income for a little bit longer, etc, etc.

    It used to be better for blue collar whites, so they had a reason to stay married. Now it often isn’t better and so they are replicating the earlier group of people with spotty male provision. Ironically reducing it all to sex trouble obscures the real problems, which ohwilleke did point out.

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  • I disagree strongly with you that sexual opportunity has nothing to do with it, especially because it’s an established fact that human females (as well as other female primates) routinely use sex to procure resources. It isn’t one or the other — it’s both. Being tied down to one man means a woman only has access to his resources and genes. Women play the field to optimize both economic and reproductive opportunities. Perhaps this is good for natural selection, but it’s typically socially disastrous, and it is strongly encouraged by both US culture and law.

    So your husband gets laid off and has to scrimp and save for a half year until the freight starts moving or the commodity prices recover. Kinda sucks when you could be out partying and getting laid by a guy who’s in the money. It’s really that simple. Happens to guys on deployment all the time, too. There are law firms expressly set up around military bases to help military wives screw their soldier husbands over while they’re serving overseas. It really is indefensible.

    The thing is, the layoffs, deployments and lean times usually happen to young men. By the time they’re in their 40s that’s pretty much a thing of the past, and the wives themselves are too old to lure in a new guy. This, BTW, is a big part of the reason college women divorce less: they marry older. By the time they get the itch they’re already too late for the game.

    Policymakers, old-man moralizers and legislators have to start copping to the fact that they created this state of affairs. Lawyers and judges have to start admitting that they make a living off a socially harmful system. As you say, the divorces are usually against the best interests of the children, but what standard is ALWAYS used in custody disputes? Best interests of the children. Every time. This has got to be the most transparent scam ever. I mean, how can people who enable dissolution then turn around and preach about how they know what’s best for kids? They should be tarred and feathered for their impudence alone.

    As for the fact that these high-earning blue-collar guys are a minority, yes, totally true and I don’t dispute you on that. They are in the top 50% physically, intellectually and in terms of diligence. Combine those traits and that puts them in roughly the top 10% of workers. These guys earn their money, and are extremely profitable for their employers. More so than your typical associate at a law firm, I’d bet. Yesterday I was on one job site that pulls in 45 million in revenue a year, and while the top paid worker earns close to 200k, labor costs in that branch can’t account for much more than a few percent of gross income.

    You say these divorces are less common than lower income blue collar divorces, and well they should be, because these are uncommon workers. My point is that divorce rates are no lower for them than they are for guys that make half as much. Perhaps part of the reason for that is that higher earners marry more, but the family law system that is currently in place is a much more likely culprit IMO.

    In any event, I appreciate the in-depth response. However, the “do the right thing” mandate leaves me highly suspicious. Does this mean letting libertine, adulterous men and gender feminist lesbians set the agenda as was the case in the 80s through 2000s? What is “the right thing?” Does it mean ruining people’s lives to lower the burden on the courts and state welfare while providing a sort of make work job for mediocre attorneys (e.g. imposing peony on unfairly abandoned husbands and fathers for half their working lives)? How do you justify these things? I suppose it goes back to “best interests of the child”…

    In the meanwhile, the American family is dissolving, and there’s been precious little improvement along those lines. I tend to think, despite your assertions that it’s better for people to hire a professional so as not to screw things up, that we’d be better off if the entire system were abolished and people were left to sort things out on their own. In that case, at least, we’d be empowered to come up with our own cultural solutions rather than having judges trained in rarefied institutions decide people’s fate based on a few minutes of arguments.

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  • “So this suggests that women act against their own and their children’s interests at alarmingly high rates when empowered to do so.”

    1. There is a considerable amount of “lifeboat economics” combined with a degree of shortsightedness. Husbands are often economic drains on the household in the short term.

    2. There is a lot of economic pressure for divorced women with children remarry or cohabit with a new partner, and most divorced women do, often with less than optimal partners. Women who divorce and swiftly form new households with more economically stable men often do improve their lots and disappear from divorce statistics once they remarry.

    3. Lots of women overestimate what they are entitled to in a divorce, which sounds a lot more equitable on paper than it is in fact. Many also overestimate their prospects of remarriage and re-employment. Overestimating your capacity to advance your own interests is a well established cognitive bias of just about everyone. A related cognitive bias is a tendency to underestimate the future potential of a spouse who has recently been disappointing economically.

    4. I would agree that the decision to divorce rarely (except in cases of serious domestic violence/substance abuse/desertion) is in their children’s best interests. Divorce is almost always a decision made based upon one or both parent’s interests, and routinely leaves children worse off even when both parents are better off as a result.

    The aphorism is that criminal law usually involves bad people who put their best foot forward in the proceedings, while divorce law usually involves good people in whom the proceedings bring out their worst side.

    “These are men who do make as much as college educated males. They are unionized and at the top of the labor hierarchy. Generally, they are about as intelligent as college grads, although usually they are not as well educated.”

    I’ve worked on cases involving families like these (as a lawyer). They are quite rare. For every blue collar dad whose doing well economically at the time the divorce decision is made, there are ten who have seen their economic prospects slide in recent years and now work part time at Home Depot (seriously, I swear, Home Depot has got to have an affirmative action program for divorced dads or something, I can’t count on my fingers all the divorcing men I can think of who work there part time.)

    It could also be that they are being culturally influenced by their less affluent peers who make up the vast majority of men with no college education. Cultural rules and ways of looking at situations for people of a certain time, place, ethnicity and class tend to be all or nothing, and tend to be optimized for the average member of that culture, not the outliers. When you make a decision to buy into a cultural identity as a blue collar male worker, you buy into a set of rules and perspectives that work best for the typical blue collar male worker, not the rare bird who makes $100K a year on a sustained basis, and adopting that set of cultural norms can cause people who are in atypical circumstances to make bad decisions for themselves based upon those norms, even when the same decisions would be good ones for more typical men who are members of that subculture.

    Firemen and policemen and soldiers and postmen tend to retire early with benefits that are decent but nothing to write home about that greatly reduce their lifetime earnings, then go onto get crappy part-time jobs at 50 or so while trying to live off pensions and disability payments.

    “it’s really about sexual opportunity (enabled by “family” law), because there’s no other solid reason in most cases.”

    Just no. Both non-marriage and divorce are mostly about male economic failure, even when the parties themselves don’t articulate their reasons in those terms. Once couples split, sex because a key survival tool for women to get back on their feet, but women who leave marriages in search of sexual opportunity are the minority by far.

    Indeed, the classic “good divorce” often involves couples who can be civil with each other interpersonally and would have managed to survive a cold and loveless marriage if divorce were not an option. A surprisingly large number of couples who have kids together even have sex with each other now and then despite the fact that they have split up (and those couples tend to have kids who are better off than those who don’t). But, a large majority are cases in which the husband has failed economically in some respect relative to the wife, or relative to his previous economic performance or prospects.

    Even among divorcing millionaires with H.S. educations, a dramatic decline in economic prosperity is the norm before a divorce.

    Yes, there are cases of divorces that have little to do with economics (e.g. the grief and role changes associate with the death of a child for a couple that doesn’t communicate exceptionally well will often kill a marriage), but more often, even when people self-justify their actions for non-economic reasons, the economic reasons are present.

    But even cases involving adultery routinely have strong economic overtones. A lot of adultery is mostly preparation for survival post-breakup where the marriage is already on life support for economic reasons. There is also immense overlap between the factors that cause people not to marry in the first place and the facts that cause people to divorce.

    “Pity that there are so many morally execrable divorce lawyers out there willing to actually cash in on this tragedy of human weakness. These people are no better than loan sharks and drug dealers, but they get to call themselves officers of the court. Sick.”

    First of all, there is a great shortage of divorce lawyers. Something like two-thirds of people in divorcing couples represent themselves (almost always ineptly).

    Needless to say, as someone who has had perhaps 15%-20% of his general civil practice doing divorce law over the last couple of decades, I would beg to differ with this characterization.

    The incredible messes that people who try to represent themselves in divorce cases create for themselves, their spouses, their children and the court system, even in the systems most geared to helping parties represent themselves are routinely horrific.

    The quality of decision making of parents in divorce proceedings who don’t have lawyers is routinely miserable to a great extent because the intense interpersonal emotions associated with the breakup cloud their ability to use good judgment.

    Cases where one party has a lawyer and the other does not do often result in unfair outcomes. But, cases where both parties have lawyers overwhelmingly avoid the worst disasters created by people in self-represented cases and usually result in mutually tolerable settlements that hold up well over time (which is not to say that there aren’t bad lawyers out there). Almost nobody in the process who has a lawyer and follows that lawyer’s advice gets totally screwed in the process.

    Far more harm is done by expecting functionally illiterate people to use a process that professional need seven years of post-high school education and several years of on the job training to master.

    There isn’t any great magic to it, but competent divorce litigation does require literacy, an ability to follow detailed procedures to the “t”, good bureaucratic management of information related to finances and children, an awareness of what is and isn’t possible or likely, and emotional distance and longer term perspective that litigants often lack.

    Publicly funded counsel, at least for issues related to children, really ought to be available as a matter of course, because unlike personal injury cases or debt collection cases, there is no pot of money involved in that part of the case that can be used to finance the process of coming up with a good solution.

    In my view, the main (avoidable) root causes of dissatisfaction with the divorce process tend to flow from the fact that a single judge is vested with extremely vast discretion over parenting issues, alimony and property division in such a manner that even if both sides perfectly agree on the facts of the case, it can be very hard to know what the likely outcome will be until you know which judge is presiding and have some experience with that judge’s proclivities in these kinds of cases.

    This lack of guidelines means that lawyers, rather than negotiating settlements “in the shadow of the law” as in most areas of civil litigation, have to negotiate settlements on a pretty unprincipled basis, knowing that “rolling the dice” could lead to highly unpredictable outcomes. Still, as often as not, divorce cases go to trial because one spouse or the other has a felt need to tell their story publicly to a judge and vent, or a deep and mostly unfounded distrust of their spouse, than it does for any reason that makes economic sense.

    If you look at who people trust the least, it is people who professionally engage in negotiations, especially less principled ones. People who are able to take a my way or the highway approach to their professional dealings are routinely much more trusted even when their veracity on average in what they say is often quite poor (e.g. cops are trusted even though they are trained as part of their profession to lie to people in all sorts of situations).

    Legislatures basically abdicated all responsibility for laying down meaningful guidance in divorce cases, which wasn’t a horrible approach when divorce was very rare, mostly confined to people with assets sufficient for lawyers for both sides, and there was more of a consensus about issues related to parenting and the scope of spousal obligations. But, this approach has been a horrible failure in an era of high volumes of divorces, large numbers of impoverished couples breaking up, and declining social consensus on the issues that are vested in the discretion of the judge. Slowly, legislatures are providing more guidance or delegating decisions to decision makers who have more of a consensus among themselves, but the prevailing rule remains “do the right thing.”

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  • This narrative sounds very plausible, but empirically, it is simply not what is happening on average, in almost every respect, even though there are no doubt anecdotal cases that fit it.

    I’m not talking about average.

    Here’s what I wrote:

    “I work with a lot of high-income blue collar guys (Todd Palin types), and the gender pay gap in this social class is enormous.”

    These are men who do make as much as college educated males. They are unionized and at the top of the labor hierarchy. Generally, they are about as intelligent as college grads, although usually they are not as well educated.

    Nevertheless, divorce is so common among this group that it goes beyond “anecdotal” into “obvious” territory. Cops, firemen, fishermen, etc. They have sky-high rates of divorce. My best guess is that it’s because of incentives. Maybe behavior factors into it as well. These guys are on average significantly more masculine than the typical American male. Maybe they cheat more. Maybe their wives tend to be more promiscuous (could be that women who are attracted to masculine men are more likely to seek out multiple partners). Whatever the case, they don’t fit into the narrative that traditional families with a male breadwinner and female homemaker are more stable, even though such stable families certainly exist among them (and inspire envy among the majority).

    The salient aspect of divorce law is that it is empirically overwhelmingly true that divorced women are much, much more likely to see their economic well being fall than men until they remarry, because divorce moves the spouses closer to not equally sharing resources, because women on average earn less than men, and because two households are more expensive than one.

    But, on the other hand, the best predictor of divorce is that the wife earns more than the husband and is not financially dependent upon him. From a modeling perspective, the closest match to reality is to view divorce as a decision made almost entirely by wives.

    So this suggests that women act against their own and their children’s interests at alarmingly high rates when empowered to do so. Who would have thought?

    The typical divorce involves a short marriage of a couple with very low net worth. Economically thriving couples who have had long marriages are much less likely to break up.

    In other words, young couples. Given that divorce is entirely a decision made by wives, I think it’s time people owned up to the fact that it’s really about sexual opportunity (enabled by “family” law), because there’s no other solid reason in most cases. Pity that there are so many morally execrable divorce lawyers out there willing to actually cash in on this tragedy of human weakness. These people are no better than loan sharks and drug dealers, but they get to call themselves officers of the court. Sick.

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  • A fairly nuanced analysis of education premiums by earnings is found at http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/09/08/college_graduate_vs_high_school_graduate_salaries.html

    Considerably fewer than 10% of high school graduates (with no college) aged 30-50 who work full time make $100,000 or more. The 90th percentile income is about $60,000 for this population (about the same as the median college graduate).

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  • @Bill P
    A college degree is the new dowry. I work with a lot of high-income blue collar guys (Todd Palin types), and the gender pay gap in this social class is enormous. While the men, given enough seniority and the willingness to put in the hours, can easily make six figures a year, the women don't even come close unless they run successful businesses (some do but it's rare). You'd think that might induce women to stick around, but due to family law it has the opposite effect.

    Say you're a 27-year-old woman who doesn't have a college degree and your likewise non-degreed husband is a firefighter. Or he could be a railroader, a mariner, heavy equipment operator, cop, etc. The husband is raking in the dough by the time he's in his thirties, and you've got a couple kids with him. You could get a job in an office making $12/hr, but why bother? Your husband is making significantly more than most guys with 4-year degrees, so there's no point.

    This builds up an enormous inequality in income vs. assets due to "community property" laws. What this does is incentivize the seizure of these assets on the part of the partner with less income. Without working a day, you can get a house, half of retirement savings, and enough monthly maintenance and child support to avoid working for years. It's a very attractive prospect for a lot of young women, who resent being tied down to one man. It's really like winning the lottery, as the overall payout frequently runs into the mid six figures.

    For the degreed woman, on the other hand, there's the expectation that she'll be working too, especially because she has good income potential. Therefore there's far less incentive to make a break for it, because the assets and debts/mortgages - and even child custody - will be split more or less equally because she has a job and an income. In other words, she doesn't "win" anything. Her victory is as likely as not to be pyrrhic.

    This is the true value of a college education for girls in the upper middle class. It essentially makes them marriageable (i.e safe bets) to men who have good income and employment potential. It provides some insurance that she will not fly the coop while the man is still rising in his career, because she knows she stands little to gain from doing so.

    It's all about incentives.

    This narrative sounds very plausible, but empirically, it is simply not what is happening on average, in almost every respect, even though there are no doubt anecdotal cases that fit it.

    Most blue collar men are not making six figures (most, of course, make much less than their college educated male peers) and even those that do well often have short careers interrupted by injuries (a quite large percentage of middle aged blue collar men receive disability benefits) or industry disruptions. For instance, construction jobs were decimated in the Great Recession and oil and gas jobs are being decimated by low oil prices today. Very few blue collar men manage to avoid multiple sustained periods of unemployment in the careers and few make good money on average for long and this makes their marriages vulnerable.

    Blue collar women with children are much more likely, statistically, to make more than 50% of the family income than college educated women with children. This is mostly because a college educated woman does much more harm to her lifetime earnings by taking time out of the labor force to have kids than a blue collar woman does.

    The salient aspect of divorce law is that it is empirically overwhelmingly true that divorced women are much, much more likely to see their economic well being fall than men until they remarry, because divorce moves the spouses closer to not equally sharing resources, because women on average earn less than men, and because two households are more expensive than one.

    But, on the other hand, the best predictor of divorce is that the wife earns more than the husband and is not financially dependent upon him. From a modeling perspective, the closest match to reality is to view divorce as a decision made almost entirely by wives.

    The typical divorce involves a short marriage of a couple with very low net worth. Economically thriving couples who have had long marriages are much less likely to break up.

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  • Say you’re a 27-year-old woman who doesn’t have a college degree and your likewise non-degreed husband is a firefighter. Or he could be a railroader, a mariner, heavy equipment operator, cop, etc. The husband is raking in the dough by the time he’s in his thirties, and you’ve got a couple kids with him. You could get a job in an office making $12/hr, but why bother? Your husband is making significantly more than most guys with 4-year degrees, so there’s no point.

    That may be so, but my impression is that the high paying blue collar jobs are more limited in number than the “$12/hr” office jobs. And the latter jobs are also more enduring in the sense that physical decline through age does not affect future and continued employment.

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  • A college degree is the new dowry. I work with a lot of high-income blue collar guys (Todd Palin types), and the gender pay gap in this social class is enormous. While the men, given enough seniority and the willingness to put in the hours, can easily make six figures a year, the women don’t even come close unless they run successful businesses (some do but it’s rare). You’d think that might induce women to stick around, but due to family law it has the opposite effect.

    Say you’re a 27-year-old woman who doesn’t have a college degree and your likewise non-degreed husband is a firefighter. Or he could be a railroader, a mariner, heavy equipment operator, cop, etc. The husband is raking in the dough by the time he’s in his thirties, and you’ve got a couple kids with him. You could get a job in an office making $12/hr, but why bother? Your husband is making significantly more than most guys with 4-year degrees, so there’s no point.

    This builds up an enormous inequality in income vs. assets due to “community property” laws. What this does is incentivize the seizure of these assets on the part of the partner with less income. Without working a day, you can get a house, half of retirement savings, and enough monthly maintenance and child support to avoid working for years. It’s a very attractive prospect for a lot of young women, who resent being tied down to one man. It’s really like winning the lottery, as the overall payout frequently runs into the mid six figures.

    For the degreed woman, on the other hand, there’s the expectation that she’ll be working too, especially because she has good income potential. Therefore there’s far less incentive to make a break for it, because the assets and debts/mortgages – and even child custody – will be split more or less equally because she has a job and an income. In other words, she doesn’t “win” anything. Her victory is as likely as not to be pyrrhic.

    This is the true value of a college education for girls in the upper middle class. It essentially makes them marriageable (i.e safe bets) to men who have good income and employment potential. It provides some insurance that she will not fly the coop while the man is still rising in his career, because she knows she stands little to gain from doing so.

    It’s all about incentives.

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    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    This narrative sounds very plausible, but empirically, it is simply not what is happening on average, in almost every respect, even though there are no doubt anecdotal cases that fit it.

    Most blue collar men are not making six figures (most, of course, make much less than their college educated male peers) and even those that do well often have short careers interrupted by injuries (a quite large percentage of middle aged blue collar men receive disability benefits) or industry disruptions. For instance, construction jobs were decimated in the Great Recession and oil and gas jobs are being decimated by low oil prices today. Very few blue collar men manage to avoid multiple sustained periods of unemployment in the careers and few make good money on average for long and this makes their marriages vulnerable.

    Blue collar women with children are much more likely, statistically, to make more than 50% of the family income than college educated women with children. This is mostly because a college educated woman does much more harm to her lifetime earnings by taking time out of the labor force to have kids than a blue collar woman does.

    The salient aspect of divorce law is that it is empirically overwhelmingly true that divorced women are much, much more likely to see their economic well being fall than men until they remarry, because divorce moves the spouses closer to not equally sharing resources, because women on average earn less than men, and because two households are more expensive than one.

    But, on the other hand, the best predictor of divorce is that the wife earns more than the husband and is not financially dependent upon him. From a modeling perspective, the closest match to reality is to view divorce as a decision made almost entirely by wives.

    The typical divorce involves a short marriage of a couple with very low net worth. Economically thriving couples who have had long marriages are much less likely to break up.

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  • FWIW, “some college” is highly protective against being incarcerated in prison and even a two year degree is more protective (even, incidentally among people who have mental illness or substance abuse problems). A year in college followed by dropping out reduces your risk of being in prison by something on the order of a factor of six, relative to high school graduates with no college. I suspect that this is largely a product of sorting effects.

    More precisely: “Educationally, just 1% of those admitted to prison had an associates degree or more education although about 11% have some college, while 37% lacked a high school diploma with 36% being at least functionally illiterates who needed adult basic education instruction, rather than high school level GED instruction which would be too advanced for them. About two-thirds of those with either a high school diploma or GED had a GED rather than a high school diploma. So, less than a quarter of Colorado prison inmates graduated from high school in the ordinary course. In Colorado as a whole, 11% lack a high school diploma or GED, 89% of the age 25+ population has at least a high school diploma or GED, 65% have at least some college, 43% have an associates degree or higher degree, and 33% have a bachelor’s degree.”

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  • @Karl Zimmerman
    It does seem like the expansion of college/graduate degrees did slow down significantly after around 1945 or so. But the GSS, unlike the Census, doesn't track "some college." A higher proportion of the population today starts a four-year degree only to later drop out. The inflection point was somewhere around 1990, when the percentage of people with just a high school degree peaked, while the some college (and four year or more) groups continued to rise. In 2009 a stunning 70% of high school seniors enrolled in college, a number which has since gone down a bit. Of course, nowhere near this amount actually finished. Degree completion rates at for-profit colleges and two-year institutions in particular are abysmal.

    While one could argue there is limited economic utility in "half a degree" it appears to be worth something in the range of an 8.85% boost in earnings over just having a high school degree (admittedly worth less than an associates however). As the social signaling value of an incomplete degree is limited, presumably the extra earnings reflects some combination of higher intelligence and more job-compatible personality skills on the part of the "some college" cohort.

    That sounds plausible. The GSS does have another variable of years of education, so I tested if high school grads have higher length of education in more recent cohorts, indicating greater college drop out:

    http://imgur.com/xjzCDnj

    It does look like there is an extra 6 months in school on average today, for High School graduates in the most recent cohorts, compared to say 1970s births.

    Average length of education by cohort for comparison:

    http://imgur.com/msKQGQ5

    Changes in average length of education are small after the Baby Boom cohort (compared to the big transformation between “GI”, “Silent” and Baby Boom), i.e. that is when the real massive expansion of higher education happened, but there is a bit of a subtle trend there.

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  • @Sean

    It looks like Americans with university degrees or higher are basically at full employment.
     
    You said a while ago that:-

    In the near to medium term future it seems plausible that the bottom 90% of the population will be employed in occupations which serve the demand of the top 10% for “authentic” human servility and handcrafts. http://www.unz.com/gnxp/why-cgi-will-not-eliminate-porn-actresses/
     
    That future 90% will in many cases be the children of the Americans with university degrees or higher.

    This sort of gets to one of the bad side effects if (as looks likely IMHO) automation leads to massive unemployment. Higher intelligence is useful for all occupations, it’s just somewhat less useful for working-class ones. College-educated people in working-class jobs also tend to make more money. Hence if labor-force participation continues to decrease, we would expect to see the college-educated push historically working-class people out of their fields.

    To some extent this is happening already. The whole bullshit “artisanal” movement is essentially people with college experience taking working-class jobs (baker, butcher, barber, bartender, woodworker, etc) marketing the service to a higher income spectrum, and getting better take-home pay than people traditionally would in the occupation.

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  • @Razib Khan
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-may-become-the-first-republican-in-60-years-to-lose-white-college-graduates/

    primary voters as a whole are richer and more educated in any case. i bet trump will do rather well with the less educated but well off. hillary will kill it with the less well off educated. the other two parts of the 2x2 matrix will be in between. for the first category, consider the palin family. todd doesn't have a college degree, but they were pulling in 200 K thanks to his oil sector job for a while.

    As the notorious Adorno showed, authoritarianism fluorishes among those with high status anxiety/ambiguity.

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  • It looks like Americans with university degrees or higher are basically at full employment.

    You said a while ago that:-

    In the near to medium term future it seems plausible that the bottom 90% of the population will be employed in occupations which serve the demand of the top 10% for “authentic” human servility and handcrafts. http://www.unz.com/gnxp/why-cgi-will-not-eliminate-porn-actresses/

    That future 90% will in many cases be the children of the Americans with university degrees or higher.

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    • Replies: @Karl Zimmerman
    This sort of gets to one of the bad side effects if (as looks likely IMHO) automation leads to massive unemployment. Higher intelligence is useful for all occupations, it's just somewhat less useful for working-class ones. College-educated people in working-class jobs also tend to make more money. Hence if labor-force participation continues to decrease, we would expect to see the college-educated push historically working-class people out of their fields.

    To some extent this is happening already. The whole bullshit "artisanal" movement is essentially people with college experience taking working-class jobs (baker, butcher, barber, bartender, woodworker, etc) marketing the service to a higher income spectrum, and getting better take-home pay than people traditionally would in the occupation.
    , @Bill M
    We still have elections though, and the 90% will be able to easily outvote the 10%. And even if we didn't have elections, there's always non-electoral politics at play. Encouraging poorer people to immigrate can mitigate this as their material prospects improve and they thus have less hostility towards the 10%, but this is temporary at best, as their children grow up in the US and don't have a poorer country as a reference. Immigration would have to be continually encouraged, but that just introduces another destabilizing dynamic.

    It's hard to see how this would persist.
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  • @Matt_
    @ Re: last two generations, on the US General Social Survey, unless I'm reading it wrong (and I don't know a lot about history of higher education in the US), expansion of higher education basically seems done by the Baby Boomer generation (1945)?

    Highest education by year of birth (only includes samples aged 25 and up):

    http://imgur.com/XzV2fo5

    Highest Education for 25-30 and 40-50 year olds, by year:

    http://imgur.com/JafHyfp

    I can't see any major compositional changes in the "Highest degree" from around the 1940s births onwards. So seems more like last three generations (basically every generation postdating the "Silent Generation"). If changes in behaviour happen midway through the last three generations, seems unlikely to me any "boiling" is causal.

    It does seem like the expansion of college/graduate degrees did slow down significantly after around 1945 or so. But the GSS, unlike the Census, doesn’t track “some college.” A higher proportion of the population today starts a four-year degree only to later drop out. The inflection point was somewhere around 1990, when the percentage of people with just a high school degree peaked, while the some college (and four year or more) groups continued to rise. In 2009 a stunning 70% of high school seniors enrolled in college, a number which has since gone down a bit. Of course, nowhere near this amount actually finished. Degree completion rates at for-profit colleges and two-year institutions in particular are abysmal.

    While one could argue there is limited economic utility in “half a degree” it appears to be worth something in the range of an 8.85% boost in earnings over just having a high school degree (admittedly worth less than an associates however). As the social signaling value of an incomplete degree is limited, presumably the extra earnings reflects some combination of higher intelligence and more job-compatible personality skills on the part of the “some college” cohort.

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    • Replies: @Matt_
    That sounds plausible. The GSS does have another variable of years of education, so I tested if high school grads have higher length of education in more recent cohorts, indicating greater college drop out:

    http://imgur.com/xjzCDnj

    It does look like there is an extra 6 months in school on average today, for High School graduates in the most recent cohorts, compared to say 1970s births.

    Average length of education by cohort for comparison:

    http://imgur.com/msKQGQ5

    Changes in average length of education are small after the Baby Boom cohort (compared to the big transformation between "GI", "Silent" and Baby Boom), i.e. that is when the real massive expansion of higher education happened, but there is a bit of a subtle trend there.
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  • Was it not always the case that women of high IQ had longer lasting marriages and lives as well? I think college is not the cause. I am the father of three daughters I do not wish for college education of women to be restricted, but lets not confuse correlation and cause. The high labor force participation rate for women of childbearing age in post 1960s America has not been all rose and no thorn.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CIVPART/

    When we look at that labor force participation rate graph we have to think about other policies over that timeline as well. What if the 1965 immigration act was not passed? What if we had maintained control of our boarders as Eisenhower showed we could. How would the life of the left half of the bell curve of the American population be today? Would the citizens of Detroit or Ferguson be better or worse off? Would the life of the median household be better or worse?

    The decline in median household income was papered over for a while by the artificially high labor participation rate of women of childbearing age. The wind was sown and now we reap the whirlwind.

    I find from the post Reagan Bush the elder purge of the Reagan staffers onward the status quo R or D has been bad for my kin on the left of the curve especially and the vast middle class as well. I am ready to throw them both overboard for an outsider I don’t fully trust. He may yet stab us in the back, but I know they will.

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  • The story behind the story is economic.

    Working class men have seen the job market stagnate for them since the 1970s – their real wages have been flat and unemployment has been significant. Working class women have seen the job market for them improve dramatically since then, and the jobs that working class women are employed in have minimal penalties for interruptions in work history or seniority to care for children. After centuries of being economically dependent upon their partners, they ceased to be economically dependent upon them and economic basis of marriage which was the main glue holding it together fell apart.

    Basically, working class Americans are not getting married and are getting divorced when they do marry, because adding a man to the economic unit isn’t adding anything for long enough stretches of time to wreck marriages.

    In contrast, college educated men have seen their economic circumstances surge since the 1970s with growing real wages and sustained low unemployment. And while college educated women have likewise seen their economic opportunities surge, the economic penalty that they pay for time out of the work force in professions like law and medicine and senior management, is intense. But, many college education women are still determined to make those sacrifices to have children, knowing that they have husbands who can support them. So, college educated women who have children have far more to loose from not marrying or getting divorced than working class women.

    As a result, working class families are in disarray, while college educated couples have stable families. A lot of the “family values” rhetoric on the right flows from the knowledge that working class families are falling apart and having the wrong ideas about why this is happening.

    The other side point (as other comments have noted) is that the SES percentile associated with college, some college, HS and no HS has shifted, so that no HS is now a much lower percentile population than it used to be (and HS as well), while college is diluted, due to higher educational attainment across the board.

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    • Replies: @Matt_
    Re: economic differences with I can think of an effects around association between numbers of children and education that could interact:

    - Lower education folk tend to have higher numbers of children, in marriage and out. Possibly that adds to economic stresses on married couples, to lead to divorce, with women more likely to regard the male as a deadweight taking resources from the child and to financial pressure against marrying. May be less true for higher education folk, with fewer children and also more likely to be "empty nesters".

    - At the same time, at least for low education folk, as distinct from working class, decreasing family sizes since at least the 1970s (per GSS) also could decrease the motivation to marry, if lower education people were marrying to have families. I get the sense marriage among highly educated often has and always has had more status symbolic functions (it seems more of an elaborate, ridiculous dance among higher social classes with announcements to newspapers and big parties and the like), and less of a function to simply bring up kids "right". At any rate high educated have reduced family sizes less. Smaller numbers of children seems to be one where the "two Americas" are "coming together".

    But really that's just in theory, and I have no real evidence for that.

    (The idea of Coming Apart, if simplified to the online soundbite, as higher education folk representing continuity older American ideal of average America, marriage and kids previously held by the low education Working Class seems a bit deceptive because high education folk don't really have the family sizes to actually match the older ideal of intact working child rearing families. Never really have had them maybe, as work, career, leisure, entertainment and entertaining have always had a higher status and are more central to life among the higher social / educational strata, who formed the old leisure class. The new upper class seems to work long hours, but cynically I wonder how much of that is truly a rebirth of the old leisure class dressing play as work to shore up their legitimacy within a meritocracy, and the new upper class really are just more straightforwardly heirs to the famously unfecund and unconventional early 20th century leisure class familiar through literature and entertainment.)
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  • @Karl Zimmerman
    This might be a self-evident thing to say, but with the tremendous degree inflation over the last two generations or so, in no way is someone without a higher degree similar to in the past. The percent of the labor force with a HS degree or less in 2010 is more or less identical to the proportion who were HS dropouts in 1970. If we presume that finishing that high-school degree isn't imparting any extra skills, and cognitive ability is mostly hereditary, then it must be true most of the decline in the wages, living standards, and social cohesion of those without high school degrees is attributable to a "boiling off" of the more capable fraction into some level of higher education.

    Also, it's not clear to me from the graph - are only people of prime working age considered? Because educational attainment has risen so much over the past 40-45 years, obviously those who are retired are much less likely to have college degrees. Retirement obviously decreases the labor force participation rate. In addition more than 10% of people without high school degrees are disabled - some are malingerers, but many are not. And depending upon what you consider the "labor force" age range, a lot of high school age kids are included. While close to half of older teens worked as recently as the 1990s, last I checked the number was under 25% and still dropping.

    @ Re: last two generations, on the US General Social Survey, unless I’m reading it wrong (and I don’t know a lot about history of higher education in the US), expansion of higher education basically seems done by the Baby Boomer generation (1945)?

    Highest education by year of birth (only includes samples aged 25 and up):

    http://imgur.com/XzV2fo5

    Highest Education for 25-30 and 40-50 year olds, by year:

    http://imgur.com/JafHyfp

    I can’t see any major compositional changes in the “Highest degree” from around the 1940s births onwards. So seems more like last three generations (basically every generation postdating the “Silent Generation”). If changes in behaviour happen midway through the last three generations, seems unlikely to me any “boiling” is causal.

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    • Replies: @Karl Zimmerman
    It does seem like the expansion of college/graduate degrees did slow down significantly after around 1945 or so. But the GSS, unlike the Census, doesn't track "some college." A higher proportion of the population today starts a four-year degree only to later drop out. The inflection point was somewhere around 1990, when the percentage of people with just a high school degree peaked, while the some college (and four year or more) groups continued to rise. In 2009 a stunning 70% of high school seniors enrolled in college, a number which has since gone down a bit. Of course, nowhere near this amount actually finished. Degree completion rates at for-profit colleges and two-year institutions in particular are abysmal.

    While one could argue there is limited economic utility in "half a degree" it appears to be worth something in the range of an 8.85% boost in earnings over just having a high school degree (admittedly worth less than an associates however). As the social signaling value of an incomplete degree is limited, presumably the extra earnings reflects some combination of higher intelligence and more job-compatible personality skills on the part of the "some college" cohort.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Walter Sobchak
    Two problems with the data:

    Time machine effect. When you are looking at the whole population you are looking at a lot of people who were educated in a previous era. It may not tell you that much about kids graduating in 2016.

    Second, race. It is a huge factor in American life. One of the virtues of Murray's coming apart is that he only looked a white people. I think you need to factor race out. Perhaps similarly with geography out as well

    i didn’t correct because the results are qualitatively the same if you account for age and and race, even if they effect the quantity. i know there are confounds. but if they don’t change the big picture i don’t see why i’d want to correct for them in a non-publication that’s a quick blog post.

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  • @Karl Zimmerman
    This might be a self-evident thing to say, but with the tremendous degree inflation over the last two generations or so, in no way is someone without a higher degree similar to in the past. The percent of the labor force with a HS degree or less in 2010 is more or less identical to the proportion who were HS dropouts in 1970. If we presume that finishing that high-school degree isn't imparting any extra skills, and cognitive ability is mostly hereditary, then it must be true most of the decline in the wages, living standards, and social cohesion of those without high school degrees is attributable to a "boiling off" of the more capable fraction into some level of higher education.

    Also, it's not clear to me from the graph - are only people of prime working age considered? Because educational attainment has risen so much over the past 40-45 years, obviously those who are retired are much less likely to have college degrees. Retirement obviously decreases the labor force participation rate. In addition more than 10% of people without high school degrees are disabled - some are malingerers, but many are not. And depending upon what you consider the "labor force" age range, a lot of high school age kids are included. While close to half of older teens worked as recently as the 1990s, last I checked the number was under 25% and still dropping.

    There is almost certainly a confounding factor of age. Not only the college-educated people are more likely to be in their prime working age, but also people with low education attainment may be a mix of disproportionately old (and labor force participation drops with age) and a few disproportionately young (too young to complete full education cycle anyway)?

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  • Two problems with the data:

    Time machine effect. When you are looking at the whole population you are looking at a lot of people who were educated in a previous era. It may not tell you that much about kids graduating in 2016.

    Second, race. It is a huge factor in American life. One of the virtues of Murray’s coming apart is that he only looked a white people. I think you need to factor race out. Perhaps similarly with geography out as well

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    i didn't correct because the results are qualitatively the same if you account for age and and race, even if they effect the quantity. i know there are confounds. but if they don't change the big picture i don't see why i'd want to correct for them in a non-publication that's a quick blog post.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • This might be a self-evident thing to say, but with the tremendous degree inflation over the last two generations or so, in no way is someone without a higher degree similar to in the past. The percent of the labor force with a HS degree or less in 2010 is more or less identical to the proportion who were HS dropouts in 1970. If we presume that finishing that high-school degree isn’t imparting any extra skills, and cognitive ability is mostly hereditary, then it must be true most of the decline in the wages, living standards, and social cohesion of those without high school degrees is attributable to a “boiling off” of the more capable fraction into some level of higher education.

    Also, it’s not clear to me from the graph – are only people of prime working age considered? Because educational attainment has risen so much over the past 40-45 years, obviously those who are retired are much less likely to have college degrees. Retirement obviously decreases the labor force participation rate. In addition more than 10% of people without high school degrees are disabled – some are malingerers, but many are not. And depending upon what you consider the “labor force” age range, a lot of high school age kids are included. While close to half of older teens worked as recently as the 1990s, last I checked the number was under 25% and still dropping.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry Pruss
    There is almost certainly a confounding factor of age. Not only the college-educated people are more likely to be in their prime working age, but also people with low education attainment may be a mix of disproportionately old (and labor force participation drops with age) and a few disproportionately young (too young to complete full education cycle anyway)?
    , @Matt_
    @ Re: last two generations, on the US General Social Survey, unless I'm reading it wrong (and I don't know a lot about history of higher education in the US), expansion of higher education basically seems done by the Baby Boomer generation (1945)?

    Highest education by year of birth (only includes samples aged 25 and up):

    http://imgur.com/XzV2fo5

    Highest Education for 25-30 and 40-50 year olds, by year:

    http://imgur.com/JafHyfp

    I can't see any major compositional changes in the "Highest degree" from around the 1940s births onwards. So seems more like last three generations (basically every generation postdating the "Silent Generation"). If changes in behaviour happen midway through the last three generations, seems unlikely to me any "boiling" is causal.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Those with nothing to lose have nothing to lose.

    They used to think that they had a chance to make it and move up and they didn’t want to lose that “chance.”

    Not many believe that they have a chance anymore.

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  • @Numinous
    Didn't a poll come out a while ago showing that Trump voters were far from the poorest of the poor, and actually had relatively middle incomes (72k or so)?

    It seems to me that the number of people who are deeply upset with the status quo and pessimistic about their future far exceeds the number of people who actually have (in material terms) something to be upset about. I guess pessimism is contagious.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-may-become-the-first-republican-in-60-years-to-lose-white-college-graduates/

    primary voters as a whole are richer and more educated in any case. i bet trump will do rather well with the less educated but well off. hillary will kill it with the less well off educated. the other two parts of the 2×2 matrix will be in between. for the first category, consider the palin family. todd doesn’t have a college degree, but they were pulling in 200 K thanks to his oil sector job for a while.

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    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond
    As the notorious Adorno showed, authoritarianism fluorishes among those with high status anxiety/ambiguity.
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  • Didn’t a poll come out a while ago showing that Trump voters were far from the poorest of the poor, and actually had relatively middle incomes (72k or so)?

    It seems to me that the number of people who are deeply upset with the status quo and pessimistic about their future far exceeds the number of people who actually have (in material terms) something to be upset about. I guess pessimism is contagious.

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-may-become-the-first-republican-in-60-years-to-lose-white-college-graduates/

    primary voters as a whole are richer and more educated in any case. i bet trump will do rather well with the less educated but well off. hillary will kill it with the less well off educated. the other two parts of the 2x2 matrix will be in between. for the first category, consider the palin family. todd doesn't have a college degree, but they were pulling in 200 K thanks to his oil sector job for a while.
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  • I have always doubted whether middle-class values like marriage and a (legal) job really are such important factors for life satisfaction. My guess would be that at least for a substantial minority things like e.g. (a) the success of the sexual market (b) experienced power over others, especially in physical form (which means violence) (c) money (which can be obtained in non-legal ways) are more important. So maybe some of those unmarried people without a legal job are not that unhappy at all, because they date a lot, maybe have some children (which they don´t care for but are proud about anyway) and have quite a lot of money (obtained in non-legal ways). Although you can pursue such a lifestyle with of without diploma, so ceteris paribus better education is better anyway.

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  • I’m a lucky person, and the world seems charmed. It’s simply not in my interest to rock the boat.

    It’s also in your interest not to ignore the pressure cooker of the downtrodden in the manner, apocryphally, of Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake”).

    It is both good in the objective sense and in self-interest to exercise noblesse oblige and do our best to look out for the wellbeing of our fellow citizens whose lives are not as charmed. It’s also important to bring up our children with the knowledge of, and empathy for, the life outside the charmed bubble.

    My older children and I go to to West Virginia with our parish group to refurbish or build homes for poor people. My kids always come back fulfilled and with a renewed sense of gratitude for what they have had. Charles Murray is absolutely right about the necessity of bridging the gap between the polarizing classes.

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  • The classic Marxist argument holds than an emerging bourgeois class, its wealth based on commerce, industry and capital accumulation, was constrained and frustrated in its political ambitions by the nobility. France was divided into Three Estates, the Third Estate which bore the taille (the main direct tax), the nobility (subject only to the capitation poll...
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  • Kevin Drum responds on Mother Jones to Democratic Sen. Jim Webb's op-ed "Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege" questioning affirmative action:This is a common centrist misconception. It is widely assumed: There must be lots of black and Hispanic kids in the 'hood with 1300 out of 1600 SAT scores who are losing out to...
  • cheap xanax xanax generic difference – xanax generic cheap

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  • From my review of Charles Murray's Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 in The American Conservative:Not surprisingly, none of these strengths have made the co-author of The Bell Curve terribly popular, especially because in the 18 years since the publication of that infinitely denounced book about the growing
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    And also, in a misguided attempt at fairness, dummies will always try to impose their disciplinarian values on smarties, and be totally ignorant and insensitive of the resulting harm

    The people on this site who imagine themselves to be "smarties", aren't. They are very mediocre thinkers with an unearned and unjustified sense of their own self-worth.

    Really? Can you name names, other than Anonymous?

    My point is still valid, that smart people literally need different rules from dumb ones, and that smart people need MORE protection from other people and LESS from their own selves.

    What's so unreasonable about that?

    Ancient China, ancient Greece, and to a smaller extent pre-Protestant Europe managed to make a system like that workable.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "And many educated people associate GOP with hardline religion, igorance, Southern bigotry, greedy rich, Limbaugh the boor, etc."

    "Could it be because the GOP has so much more of this stuff NOW than it had 20-40 years ago?"

    Yes and no. When it comes to religious issues, Christian Right wing of the GOP seems to be in the Middle Ages. But then, younger Evangelicals tend to be different.
    Bush was both more Evangelical than previous Republican presidents but also more 'compassionate conservative', bending over backwards to black community and aid to Africa–and home loans to blacks and Hispanics, disparate impact, support for affirmative action.
    Deep South is associated with Nascar and etc, but college football is big down there, and white conservatives root for black teams. And Southern whites are more integrated than Northern liberal whites, especially affluent ones.
    Sarah Palin seems like Guns and God conservative, but she's like a Family Guy character and her kids are trashy morons without values and reverence for anything; they're MTV.
    GOP immigration policy was defined by amnesty from both Bush II and McCain.
    And the big problem in the South isn't southern white bigotry but black violence against whites, but conservatives are mum about it, being so afraid of being called 'racist'.
    GOP has SYMBOLICALLY become more conservative but IN REAL TERMS become less conservative, more confused, slavish to Jewish interests, etc.

    But because there is such lack of artistic, cultural, and intellectual life on the conservative side, the image of GOP is either bland white people or dumb white people.
    Murray takes of significance of whites in elite positions, but 90% of them are liberal or leftist. Look at Hollywood and Silicon Valley. How many conservative whites there?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    many educated people associate GOP with hardline religion, igorance, Southern bigotry, greedy rich, Limbaugh the boor, etc.

    In contemporary America, "educated" is just another word for "indoctrinated". They can't think their way out of a paper bag. To be "educated' is not to be able to think, but to know the "correct" response to various questions.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    And also, in a misguided attempt at fairness, dummies will always try to impose their disciplinarian values on smarties, and be totally ignorant and insensitive of the resulting harm

    The people on this site who imagine themselves to be "smarties", aren't. They are very mediocre thinkers with an unearned and unjustified sense of their own self-worth.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "Please don't insult Murray with these words. He's not an 'intellectual', but a true scholar. And he's not 'sophisticated', or anything else sophist, but quite deep.

    Murray is a court intellectual. He is always going to to tell the "nobility" that which flatters their ego the most. In this case that means telling them how they are innately better than the rabble.

    If born into 18th century Europe he's have put his talent to work justifying the rights of monarchs and aristocrats to rule.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Now, naturally smart/curious kids like Steve Jobs are wired by nature to strive to learn more on their own.

    Agreed.

    But most kids are mediocre. The Jewish Way doesn't work for them since they don't have natural Jewishy smarts.

    There must be a middle ground between the self-regulating Jewish / Japanese / Armenian Way and the Prussian / Victorian / Anglo-Saxon Way. I might as well add Levantine Christian to the first group; Jobs himself is an exemplar.

    Of course, spoiled kids will resist Prussianism, but that's why they have to be started early.

    Mistracked smart kids too. And we can't lump all smart kids into the same boat; those of IQ 105 and 145 are from different worlds. In many ways, especially socially, someone with an IQ of 145 has more in common with an 85er than with a 105er.

    And also, in a misguided attempt at fairness, dummies will always try to impose their disciplinarian values on smarties, and be totally ignorant and insensitive of the resulting harm.

    Actual communist societies are extremely tracked. Those earmarked to be rocket scientists from an early age are given all the resources they need – books, labs, computers, calculators – and especially splendid isolation. They are not forced to "socialize" with the proletariat, nor the usual Prussian boot-camp social regimentation.

    And of course, neo-Prussianism must be humane and not involve brutal punishment.

    Or hypocrisy.

    It can also be made to look appealing with aesthetics: uniforms, special badges, sense of belonging, camping trips, etc. Kids go for that stuff.

    And an appeal to "goodness" and "doing good", to appeal to the consciences of the kids, and link them to their self-esteem.

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Welcome To Gummtown. Pop 1"] says:

    "Alternative Right people can do without the government in poor white communities, but they are too busy huffing and puffing themselves up as Nietzschean superman."

    I meant,

    "Alt right folks don't need the backing of government programs to do something for poor white folks, but they are too busy being supermen."

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  • And many educated people associate GOP with hardline religion, igorance, Southern bigotry, greedy rich, Limbaugh the boor, etc.

    Could it be because the GOP has so much more of this stuff NOW than it had 20-40 years ago?

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Andrea Ostrov Letania"] says: • Website

    "Please don't insult Murray with these words. He's not an 'intellectual', but a true scholar. And he's not 'sophisticated', or anything else sophist, but quite deep."

    But he does have an agenda. He's not thinking just to understand stuff but to fix society. He is a public intellectual in this sense.

    "philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it."

    – Marx.

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Welcome To Gummtown. Pop 1."] says:

    David Sutherland's COUNTRY BOYS is a good documentary, but its problem–and that of the teachers/ministers, etc. featured in the film–is they are too soft. They are sympathetic and well-meaning, even idealistic, but they don't enforce discipline that poor students really need to make something of themselves. Whether one agrees with Amy Chua's Tiger-Mommyism or not, Chua made sure her girls understood that she's the parent, teachers are teachers, and kids must show some respect.

    The two kids in COUNTRY BOYS are not bad boys, and the adults really try to help them, but there is no real push, no sense of authority and respect. The fat guy comes up with an idea to run a school paper, and it takes him nearly a whole semester to print up a single page!! He keeps making excuses and teachers kindly listen to him at every step.
    Decent people but this is not how things get done.

    What we need is a new Prussianism. And it can be started from an early age. We don't need to spend a lot of money. It'd be less about using expensive teaching material than building up a state of mind and habit. Too much emphasis within programs like HEAD START is educational material. But a small child can only cram so much into his/her head.
    Better would be HEART START and BUTT START. Shape the heart to respect authority, shape the butt to get off the ground sometimes.

    You gotta form correct character/habit before you embark on mental stuff. Now, naturally smart/curious kids like Steve Jobs are wired by nature to strive to learn more on their own. But most kids are mediocre. The Jewish Way doesn't work for them since they don't have natural Jewishy smarts. Their minds develop more slowly, and therefore it's more important to shape their habits and character–to serve as pillars, buttresses, bulwarks against laziness, craziness, and slovenliness.

    Of course, spoiled kids will resist Prussianism, but that's why they have to be started early. And of course, neo-Prussianism must be humane and not involve brutal punishment.
    It can also be made to look appealing with aesthetics: uniforms, special badges, sense of belonging, camping trips, etc. Kids go for that stuff.

    Alternative Right people can do without the government in poor white communities, but they are too busy huffing and puffing themselves up as Nietzschean superman.

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  • I hoped someone would observe that the Morlocks of The Time Machine constituted a literal under class.

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  • "Vikings all want everything to be a giant IKEA store in a hip urban neighborhood, with safe streets."

    That's funny. I thought Vikings were tough guys, bashing heads and taking loot.

    In the Icelandic sagas, the phrase "to go viking" implies participation in raiding activity or piracy.

    "From the fury of the Northmen deliver us, O Lord!" cried the Medieval monks.

    Come to find out, it was all just anti-Viking propaganda, and my ancestors were just looking for the local shopping mall. Thank you, Whiskey, for straightening that out.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Although i think most of Murray's thesis is correct it leaves out the effect of offshoring.

    The full rotting effect of the modern anti-culture only really kicks in when there's mass, concentrated unemployment like you get when a factory, mine or steel town closes down en masse. It's that which kills the prideful working culture and associated shame restraint that keeps out the rot.

    So to a certain extent he's providing an excuse for the people who initiated the problem (and who made themselves very rich in the process) so they can blame the condition of the plebs entirely on their own moral turpitude rather than on a combination of pleb turpitude and the greed and treachery of the elites.

    Without the post 1965 immigration and offshoring homogamy may well have led to gaps in the same places but they wouldn't be as big.

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  • …Murray has been the model of a public intellectual. Striving to reconcile contrasting virtues, Murray has displayed a dazzling gift for sophisticated data analysis…

    Please don't insult Murray with these words. He's not an 'intellectual', but a true scholar. And he's not 'sophisticated', or anything else sophist, but quite deep.

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  • Bud Light? Much too expensive for me.

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  • You drink Bud Light? In moderation?

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  • "Give us some guidelines on what is and is not acceptable."

    I think I figured out the iron laws of WHIM.

    1. No N-words.

    2. No overt anti-Jewishness.

    3. No overt sexualism.

    4. No Neo-Nazi stuff.

    5. No ridiculous or irrelevant trivia.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In small towns, often the village atheist was encouraged to attend Church as long as he kept his mouth shut and did not take communion. The notion was that if he bowed his head while others were praying, he at least might evade ending up worshipping himself as a substitute for worshipping God.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    As regards the observation that we don't (yet) have underclass population concentrations on the order of the typical Black ghetto.
    Well,the Americam farming states of the mid-west sprouted lots and lots of villages in the 1870's-80's and the ones that the railroads threaded through, had a good pulse beat for many decades. However, since about the mid 1950's, the brain drain and other forces have pulled people out and, sadly, most often what remains are those who were so dim they understandably didn't feel good about being away from their generations-old rural
    kinship networks–and had the degree of reality contact to remain rural "family" but poor. But by 2000 or so, the typical appearance of these once viable villages (of anywhere from a population of, say, 350 to 500 persons) was simply a miniature White ghetto—abandoned mobile homes pushed together and leaking roofs patched with plastic bags–heating with wood stoves–people living in a combo of old RV's and various lean-to structures, etc.
    If farm crops were to skyrocket in price from the huge world population demands–and a few other factors–these relic villages could be almost literally
    plowed under in a period best measured in many months rather than several years.
    We may, in fact, already have incipient White
    ghettos–they've just not coalesced yet within the spaces that remain (burned out buildings, etc.) within the Black ghettos of the nearest cities (pop. say, 250,000 or so ) I've never yet heard of these little "dried up" villages getting noticed by campus sociologists or anthropologists. Unless you've once lived in them and still know a few people there,
    a lot of folks would wish to have
    a .357 under the vest before peering around. Of course, dim
    Whites and Blacks sharing the same ghetto area just might make it hard to distinguish firecracker day from any other day. We are doomed to live now in interesting times.

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  • You comment censoring is crap. You let worthless pigs like whiskey fill up your blog with the same shit post after post. But others seem to get clipped. Give us some guidelines on what is and is not acceptable.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "What's all this pompous bullshit about attending church 'making you a good person'"

    I expect going to church tends to make you a slightly better person – all those messages of personal responsibility and love thy neighbour – and likewise hanging around sleazy bars and whorehouses tends to make you a worse person.

    Inductivist has run a zillion correlations on this sort of thing. It can't be all selection effect.

    Cennbeorc

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In the 80s, I recall may suburbs were solidly Republican. But now many suburbs–especially nice ones–are solidly Democratic.
    I think many older people died since the 80s–and they're gone forever–and their kids were just more liberal, and their kids were raised under heavy dose of PC in media and colleges. And many educated people associate GOP with hardline religion, igorance, Southern bigotry, greedy rich, Limbaugh the boor, etc.

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  • "Belmont is "the elite upper 20 percent." But it's Mitt Romney's neighborhood."

    Romney's neighborhood…. or Krugman's neighborhood? Belmonters don't seem to be voting for Romney.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Belmont is "the elite upper 20 percent." But it's Mitt Romney's neighborhood.

    Then he gives a list of super zip codes that are the other Belmonts. That's where residents are in the 95th percentile + of income and education.

    To Murray Belmonters aren't the top 20%. He's thinking of the upper 100k.

    The upper 100k or top 5% don't go to church much. They are very secular. Murray wanted to find good churchgoing numbers so he expanded Belmont for statistical purposes to the top 20%. This adds fuel for the hypocrisy theme of his book. Belmonters follow values that they tell others not to follow.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What Christianity and other religions do, is most of the time for most people put checks and curbs on behavior so you don't need a policeman on every street corner and every room, and a policeman to police the policeman.

    And at least much of the time it's religion that puts religious policemen on every street corner, every room, and especially every bedroom.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "I have a feeling that Murray is trying to atone and ingratiate himself, by picking on white people, for his genuine and sincere work in the Bell Curve…the wrong target.It is simply not them who are causing the trouble, murder, robbery, violence, mortgage frauds and allied dysfunction. Murray knows full well who's doing that. But he's too cowardly to say so. The man's an academical harlot."

    There may be an element of this, but he's one of the few–along with Chris Webb and Pat Buchanan–who shed light on hard times faced by poor white folks. Leftists want people to think white = privilege and black = poor, but this book shows that there is no single white America. And Murray has reasons to be tough on white trash. I know all about white trash. Things are really bad in some communities, made especially awful by Section 8, indeed worse than de-industrialization.
    Also, Murray is also hard on white elites. Of course, he's not hard on a certain people but that they seem to have control over Komment Kontrol's 'whim'.

    Btw,is a powerful and sympthetic(too sympathetic)documentary on the subject. His FARMER'S WIFE was pretty moving too.

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  • "The Bell Curve" restricted its discussion to whites in most of the chapters. It was the couple that went beyond that which generated the most flack. I don't think Murray is taking that different a tack now compared to then.

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  • "Comments are moderated, at whim."

    How were they moderated before?

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  • Herbert George Wells foresaw it back in 1895:

    "At first, proceeding from the problems of our own age, it seemed clear as daylight to me that the gradual widening of the present merely temporary and social difference between the Capitalist and the Labourer, was the key to the whole position. No doubt it will seem grotesque enough to you—and wildly incredible!—and yet even now there are existing circumstances to point that way. There is a tendency to utilize underground space for the less ornamental purposes of civilization; there is the Metropolitan Railway in London, for instance, there are new electric railways, there are subways, there are underground workrooms and restaurants, and they increase and multiply. Evidently, I thought, this tendency had increased till Industry had gradually lost its birthright in the sky. I mean that it had gone deeper and deeper into larger and ever larger underground factories, spending a still-increasing amount of its time therein, till, in the end—! Even now, does not an East-end worker live in such artificial conditions as practically to be cut off from the natural surface of the earth?

    Again, the exclusive tendency of richer people—due, no doubt, to the increasing refinement of their education, and the widening gulf between them and the rude violence of the poor—is already leading to the closing, in their interest, of considerable portions of the surface of the land. About London, for instance, perhaps half the prettier country is shut in against intrusion. And this same widening gulf—which is due to the length and expense of the higher educational process and the increased facilities for and temptations towards refined habits on the part of the rich—will make that exchange between class and class, that promotion by intermarriage which at present retards the splitting of our species along lines of social stratification, less and less frequent. So, in the end, above ground you must have the Haves, pursuing pleasure and comfort and beauty, and below ground the Have-nots, the Workers getting continually adapted to the conditions of their labour. Once they were there, they would no doubt have to pay rent, and not a little of it, for the ventilation of their caverns; and if they refused, they would starve or be suffocated for arrears. Such of them as were so constituted as to be miserable and rebellious would die; and, in the end, the balance being permanent, the survivors would become as well adapted to the conditions of underground life, and as happy in their way, as the Upper-world people were to theirs."

    The Time Machine

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "Take Clinton. He was a major womanizer, but he only got Hillary pregnant."

    Juanita Broaddrick claims that Clinton told her not to worry after he raped her since he was sterile from childhood mumps. Chelsea does look an awful lot like Webster Hubbell (or at least did before her plastic surgery).

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  • I have a feeling that Murray is trying to atone and ingratiate himself, by picking on white people, for his genuine and sincere work in the Bell Curve…the wrong target.It is simply not them who are causing the trouble, murder, robbery, violence, mortgage frauds and allied dysfunction. Murray knows full well who's doing that. But he's too cowardly to say so. The man's an academical harlot.

    Exactly!

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    ANON SAID:
    I've met a lot of non-university educated working class Scandinavians and they come off as intelligent and polite.

    I AGREE WITH ANON
    May I ask what part of Europe the residents of Fishtown originally came from?

    Only reason I ask is that we all know that certain "founding stock" or "colonial stock" Americans are amoral depraved meth-heads (see winter's bone) at the same time their close blood relatives in Glasgow also act amoral and depraved.

    Can are these specific founding stock Americans genetically amoral and depraved? Possibly since you see the same behaviour in Europe that you see in Winter's bone.

    On the other hand, there are very very few natives of Sweden, either living in Sweden or living in the USA that act this way.

    Given the latest research on genetics and crime, can we conclude that Swedes are genetically different enough from the people in Fishtown/Glasgow to account for the difference?

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  • "You have to be nutty to think that Fishtown whites act like Scandinavians."

    Obviously you're a nonWhite spewing your prejudices. I will walk into any majority white community in this country without fear. Sure there's a few drug addicts but the difference between the desperate and the regular folks is still plain to see, easy enough to avoid trouble.

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Welcome To Gummtown. Pop 1"] says:

    And so, upper Jews and lower blacks have this animosity toward middle whites. But, paradoxically, it's the white middle buffer that allows upper Jews and lower blacks to feel an affinity with one another, rather like between grandparents and grandchildren.

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Welcome To Gummtown. Pop 1"] says:

    Maybe Functional Morality can make us understand the weird political affinity between upper crust and lower crust(like in the Democratic Party), with both crusts hating the middle crust.

    It's like grandparents and grandchildren are closer to one another in some ways than either is to the 'parents' in the middle.
    (Grammatically, is it 'either is' or 'either are' if 'either' refers to a plural?)
    This is paradoxical since 'parents' come between grandparents and grandchildren. But 'parents' as adults must be moral and responsible whereas grandparents are retired-and-taking-it-easy and grandchildren are kids-and-taking-it-easy. Since 'parents' are the children of grandparents, they grew up being disciplined by the latter, and so there could be lingering tensions; also, since the 'parents' must discipline their own children(grandchildren of grandparents), there's bound to be tension between them too. Grandparents, in contrast, can just 'enjoy' their grandchildren on and off, and since grandparents go easy on grandchildren, grandchildren feel fondness for grandparents.

    Because grandparents are retired and since grandkids are still too young, they don't really have to be functionally moral or responsible. So, though divided by great age, they feel an affinity with one another.

    Same may be at stake with class.
    Imagine three identical Bubbas, all starting out in the middle class. They are reasonably moral and responsible.
    But suppose one Bubba does something which earns him a million bucks while another Bubba does something that drags him down to the bottom.

    So, now there's rich bubba, middle bubba, and poor bubba. Since middle bubba is between rich bubba and poor bubba, you might think both rich bubba and poor bubba feel closer to middle babba than to one another. But maybe not.

    Why not? Because when rich bubba found himself rich, he began to feel chained by his morality. Why stick with his homely wife when he can use his big bucks to get lots of women? Indeed, look at Tiger Woods. He used to have a steady okay-looking girlfriend before he got famous but when he made the big time, he figured, 'shiite, I can hump anyone!!' Since he had so much money and advantages, he didn't need to be functionally moral anymore–though he was careful to keep it discreet(well, maybe he coulda been a bit more discreet).

    As for lower bubba, what does he have to lose anymore? He lost a decent job and his wife left him too. Since he has nothing of any value anymore–job, property, or woman–,he might as well get anything that comes his way: stolen merchandise, trashy tramps, etc. Since he's down in the pits and without hope, he might have as well 'live for today' with whatever he gets his hands on.

    Thus, upper bubba and lower bubba comes to develop a similar mindset: upper bubba because he can afford a whole of stuff that give him pleasure and lower bubba because he's got nothing to lose and might as well have fun with whatever he can. Neither has much use for functional morality.

    In contrast, middle bubba has to be functionally moral. He doesn't have the wealth/opportunity of rich bubba to enjoy all the goodies of life. But he still has enough of value–decent enough job and good enough woman–to work hard at being a law-abiding and moral person to make his life work.

    Upper bubba, in his wanton freedom/privilege, is gonna resent middle bubba because middle bubba reminds him of the morality that he once had when he didn't have so much.
    And lower bubba resents middle bubba because middle bubba stands for the ideal of 'if you study/work hard and act moral, you can have a decent life'. Lower bubba, down in the dumps, don't wanna be reminded that he's a loser cuz he's a lazy crazy bum.

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  • "What Christianity and other religions do, is most of the time for most people put checks and curbs on behavior so you don't need a policeman on every street corner and every room, and a policeman to police the policeman."

    No. Religions offer structure from the weekly meetings along with extra opportunities to socialize within the group to the seasonal rituals and celebrations. Hey, you even get your own set of wedding and funeral rituals. What's not to love. Yes, you have to manifest some semblance of adhering to the moral code but participation in the community is what's most helpful. Active membership in any group pursuing some avid shared interest can be just as good. Unless you're a goth, most groups have high enough standards.

    You come across as exceedingly pompous spouting theories that lower class people need constant reminders about moral behavior. Evidence abounds that the upper classes aren't exhibiting exemplary behavior despite these pockets of Victorian circumspection. Not even Mormons are free of character destroying vices. The disarray you see in the formerly more morally pristine lower classes has to do with employment and opportunity not thick-skulled indulgence without consideration for consequences.

    You only apprehend working-class folks through the filter of one sociological theory or other. It's time you recognized your limits as well as that of Charles Murray who lives among these people like an anthropologist among savages. Anyway, isn't the SAT responsible for leaving less capable whites behind struggling in the ruins of once thriving small towns?

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  • Anonydroid at 9:26 a.m. said: And take that stupid hee haw country music. I mean in the 21st century, some people are still listening to that music that lowers human IQ? I mean makes you wanna drool and step on manure.

    Hunsdon replied: In a world of Nicki Minaj's "Stupid Hoe" picking on country music represents a massive failure of target selection.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6j4f8cHBIM&ob=av2e (NSFHC—Not Safe For Human Consumption)

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  • American culture's "race problem" is one important reason that upper-class American whites do not "preach what they practice."

    If an upper-class white American were to advocate, say, childbearing only in wedlock, s/he would have to direct his/her remarks either to (a) people of all races, or (b) people of some races. In case (b) s/he would certainly be denounced as a racist– after all, sauce for the goose must be sauce for the gander (apart from affirmative action, of course). But in case (a) s/he would also be denounced as a racist, because s/he would be "devaluing" the large majority of American blacks who produce their children outside of wedlock.

    Since nothing could be worse for a normal upper-class American than to be denounced as a racist, nearly all upper-class Americans just keep their mouths shut when it comes to giving cultural advice to people outside their immediate families.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Responsible isn't same as Moral. One can be immoral but responsible.

    Morally, fishtown and belmont could be same, but Belmonters could be more discrete/responsible while fishtowners could be shameless/vulgar. This could make a lot of difference.

    Take Japan. Japanese are not very moral by our standards. There's a lot of porn, prostitution, violent videogames, and etc. BUT, Japanese have created social rules of discretion where one can be immoral but in a discreet/responsible ways. So, a 'respectable' salary man, after work, can go to some club and have sex with a woman pretending to be an underaged schoolgirl, BUT THE THING IS HE MUST KEEP THAT STUFF AWAY FROM HIS WORK AND FAMILY.

    So, Japanese are not more moral than us. If anything, they could be more immoral. But they've set up screens among various spheres–work, family, fantasy, etc–which allow them to keep the lurid aspects of their lives contained(instead of spilling out and contaminating other areas of their lives).
    Same may be true of SEX AND CITY Belmonters. I knew an upper middle class friend who cheated on her husband, but she was very discreet about it. Of course, I don't condone that sort of behavior as I'm a very upright person, but I'm just saying one doesn't have to have moral values or act moral to 'seem moral'.

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  • but the well mannered and behaived Scandinavians do likewise.

    You have to be nutty to think that Fishtown whites act like Scandinavians.

    I've met a lot of non-university educated working class Scandinavians and they come off as intelligent and polite.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    One problem with Murray's admonition to the rich is that NO ONE WANTS TO BE TOLD TO BE LAME AND SQUARE FOR THE GOOD OF THE WHOLE. For example, suppose a cultural conservative were to say educated people shouldn't watch or promote Ingmar Bergman films cuz they are filled with sex and sin, and many less educated people might get the WRONG idea from such things.
    That would mean educated people would have to say NO to real art and intelligent culture just to be a 'good example' to dummies. They should all be watching nothing but LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE.

    Also, conventional values and attitudes need to be challenged. Otherwise, there would never have been any progress.
    So, Murray should have lauded the Belmonters for their liberal outlook and etc. The real criticism shouldn't be that Belmonters are anti-culturally-conservative but that they are anti-culturally-liberal. Today's PC and pop culture aren't what real liberalism should be. Real liberalism should be intelligent, rational, open-minded, judicious, thoughtful, etc. But so much of what comes out of Hollywood and etc are trashy, ugly, moronic, dumb, etc. And so much of what passes as public discourse is witchhunting-dogma.

    I don't mind when art and culture upset social norms in the name of presenting something new or a greater truth. Society should be shaken up sometimes. Artists and thinkers should be bold and different.
    The problem is liberal pop culture gives us the same old same old of porny ugly disgusting mindless moronicness.

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  • Power demands discipline – as Hunter Thompson remarked once (in a column reprinted within the collection Generation of Swine) opium smokers don't engage in conquest – the early risers, the clean and sober types who want to be 'on the team' do it. Flakes drop out. To quote from Simon Sebag Montefiore's book on Stalin – The Court of the Red Tsar – his no. 2 Molotov (Vyacheslav Scriaban) was "…so disciplined that he would declare to his office that he would take 'a thirteen minute nap', then wake up on the thirteenth minute." A puritan ethos held sway over Stalin's men:
    "Yet their self-conscious brutality co-existed with a rigid code of party manners: Bolsheviks were meant to behave to one another like bourgeois gentlemen. Divorces were 'frowned upon more severely than in the Catholic Church.' When Kaganovich wrote on the death sentence of an innocent general that he was a 'slut', he just put 's…'. Molotov edited Lenin's use of the word 'shitty' replacing it with '…..' and talked prissily about using a 'name not used in Party circles.'"

    The remark on the Obamas' marriage arrangements reminded me of the following footnote in Montefiore concerning Lenin's marriage: "Stalin's row with Lenin's wife, Krupskaya, outraged Lenin's bourgeois sentiments. But Stalin thought it was entirely consistent with Party culture: 'Why should I stand on my hindlegs for her? To sleep with Lenin does not mean you understand Marxism-Leninism. Just because she used the same toilet as Lenin…'. This led to some classic Stalin jokes, in which he warned Krupskaya that if she did not obey, the Central Committee would appoint someone else as Lenin's wife. This is a very Bolshevik concept."

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Let's not let our fascination with high IQ cause us to forget what we are losing…..

    The social isolate, the non-networker type white is a pretty cool person.

    They were the people who went out West. The colorful characters. The bold, the risk takers!

    I think having a high IQ white elite of "Good Little Status Quo Enforcing Worker Bees" is in itself something to be worried about.

    Also, those high-IQ types will go extinct even faster precisely because they are status-quo people who do what they are told.

    This in the long run is not Galton's Eugenics.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What is SEX AND THE CITY and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES? I've never seen it, but is that Belmontish or Fishtownish? It seems like women of all backgrounds see it. The values are trashy but the characters are privileged.

    Maybe Belmonters are not more moral but more responsible. Morality and responsibility are not necessarily the same. Belmonters could be having lots of 'free love' stuff but they may be more responsible about keeping it discreet and/or using condoms. Fishtowners, on the other hand, may be more slovenly about using condoms.
    I've know lots of middle class and privileged friends and acquaintances and they fuc*ed around a lot, but few got pregnant out of wedlock cuz they used contraceptives or discreetly had abortions.
    Same with crime. Wall Street guys commit white collar crime but know how to handle the books and hire the right lawyers and people to keep it look respectable whereas fishtowners are more likely to commit the kind of crime that gets them behind bars.

    Take Clinton. He was a major womanizer, but he only got Hillary pregnant.

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  • <a title=”"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMgjJFW9GQg'>If&#8221; href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMgjJFW9GQg'>If Springer is Belmonter who eggs on white trash, Povich is a Belmonter who eggs on black trash. </a>

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  • I think too much food made too many fishtowners fat. Being obese undermines self-esteem, and it might lead to more childish behavior.

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  • From your review: "Sir Francis Galton…called for society to develop institutions to bring together the smartest and hardest-working young people for romance. Among the last three couples in the White House, for example, the Clintons met at Yale Law School and the Obamas were assigned each other because both were Harvard Law students."

    OK. I'll bite. What do the Obamas have to do with the smartest and hardest-working young people, besides the fact that they were once young?

    Or is this just more of your whimsical SoCal humor?

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  • Reality check for the Jew hater: most Americans support Israel and view themselves as "New Jews" fairly explicitly. They also like old-school Jews that ran Hollywood and created beloved American comic book characters. Jew hatred is as cult and obscure, despite its passions, as Ron Paul or cult TV shows with low ratings. Just because fans shout real loud does not mean there are a lot of them.

    What Murray fails to mention is that the classes roughly correlate with the Albion's Seed cultures: Puritan/Danelaw/Viking folks valuing education, in a communal-reinforced strong government collective; versus their eternal enemies, the Scots-Irish "Borderers" aka hillbillies.

    Pretty much the elites are all Puritans, complete with a yearning desire for moral uplift, save-the-planet religiosity, staid personal lives, familiar to anyone examining the peoples of New England, Portland Oregon, or Stockholm and Copenhagen.

    Meanwhile the "Hillbillies" are on a collision course seeing as how they're on the outs (the Who/Whom amounts to Puritans and Hillbillies) economically, culturally (except for redoubts like Country Music, NASCAR, and Golf). The Tea Party is just another Shays/Whiskey rebellion.

    Puritans/Vikings/Progressives all want everything to be a giant IKEA store in a hip urban neighborhood, with safe streets. With conformity enforced by whatever means necessary so long as it has a veneer of "niceness." Hillbillies want the freedom to exploit natural resources and sin every Friday and Saturday night so they can repent on Sundays. Or not.

    This tension is as old as America.

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  • Anon — Atheism is fine for people who's idea of a wild time is staying up to 10:30 at night and taking a second swing at the buffet line. Not so good for folks like Charlie Sheen, or Lindsay Lohan. What Christianity and other religions do, is most of the time for most people put checks and curbs on behavior so you don't need a policeman on every street corner and every room, and a policeman to police the policeman.

    Religion is an evolutionary adaptation to modifying human behavior to avoid personally advantageous but society-wide harmful behavior.

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  • The following is a decades old letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune. Save for omission of the writer’s name and my edit at the ellipsis, it is exactly as published:

    “It was with a vague uneasiness that I perused a recent Tribune. Suddenly I realized what was missing was the obligatory denunciation of …’The Bell Curve’.

    "You can imagine my relief when I opened the Tribune on Oct. 20 and discovered not one but two denunciations of that book (William Safire and Eric Zorn). If I have not lost count, that made a total of six negative reviews in five days of a book that has just appeared in stores.

    "Keep up the good work – your readers must not be allowed to draw their own conclusions from the book, particularly when forbidden thoughts are involved.”

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  • Murray's book seems to describe the situation without giving reasons for the causes.

    My view on the causes:

    Since 1960 government has grown and has taken from taxpayers and redistributed to tax recipients in zero-sum fashion.

    Most of today's upper middle class are tax recipients or beneficiaries of government. They have moved up in status as taxpayers have moved down. All those in the high-paying medical sector, for example, get most of their money from Medicare, Medicaid, and from payments from the Cadillac health insurance policies that government workers get.

    America's private sector, oppressed by government and whose workers must compete with workers from the lowest of low-wage countries, is comparatively much less healthy than in 1960.

    America's lower-income whites have been screwed by the growth of government, by free trade with China and open borders, to the point where they have given up on family formation, belonging to communities, etc.

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  • Good review, although I question this passage: "Moreover, the growth of distinctive white underclass neighborhoods hasn’t really come to pass over the last 19 years." Maybe it doesn't show up statistically, but if you check out someplace like Winsted, Connecticut, you'll certainly find some distinctive white underclass neighborhoods, with lots of Section 8 housing, rampant drug abuse, and so on. And they've gotten appreciably worse in the last two decades.

    A friend of mine once had his car broken into in the parking lot of the Winsted IGA. Tellingly, the thief only took a bottle of bleach: at least the underclass in Northwest Connecticut are cleaning the needles they share and fixing-up safe, I guess…

    The locals have a name for the members of this underclass: Raggies. Look it up.

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  • I haven't read the book yet but I have read reviews. One thing kind of sticks out at me. He claims that in working class Fishtown, crime rates have gone up.

    Is this true? I know that illegitimacy has skyrocketed amongst working class whites but has crime? It seems to me most of the crime in Fishtown is committed by blacks invading the place with flash mobs and such. Most of the working class white deviancy is in more passive forms of mischief, such as becoming a baby daddy instead of a husband and father, and loafing.

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  • Natty light, Steve? Do you pay college students to buy it for you?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    While the white elites are out of touch, so are white trash, Evangelicals, and many educated conservatives. I mean, in this day and age, what the hell is Buchanan doing pushing Creationism?
    And if Murray is so in touch, why doesn't he express the anger of American whites over Jewish elite power? And what's with Evangelicals waving the Zionist flag when most Jews piss on them? Even neocons despise Evangelis and only pretend to be their friends to garner support for Israel.
    And take that stupid hee haw country music. I mean in the 21st century, some people are still listening to that music that lowers human IQ? I mean makes you wanna drool and step on manure. Worse, American conservatism, in opposition to liberal elites, have made a cult of ignorance and dumbness a kind of virtue. It's like how Buchanan praised FORREST GUMP. And cons must really be dumb because so many of them wet their pants over BLINDSIDE. So, we got Bush II and Palin.

    We need a new creative, rational, and honest right.

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  • Never mind Murray, what if Devlin is even half right?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Maybe homogamy–I must say it sounds like 'gay marriage'!–got more serious because more doors opened for women. Before women filled up colleges and high-level jobs, a smart guy would go to good college and get a good job and marry his highschool sweetheart or someone based on looks and charm. But once women entered elite colleges and high-level jobs in huge numbers, smart power-men married smart power-women.

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  • '“social isolates”—people who don’t belong to any sort of organized group and don’t attend church more than annually.'

    Here in Whiteopia, I'm quite familiar with our white ghettos and its denizens. They may be cut off from church, Kiwanis, local politics etc but they seem to cluster in very closenit family groups, sharing childcare, making EBT runs together, watching Oprah together, and reinforcing each other's values.

    Kinda envy them actually.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I have a feeling that Murray is trying to atone and ingratiate himself, by picking on white people, for his genuine and sincere work in the Bell Curve – which only more or less stated the obvious ie blacks and hispanics are, in the main, a drag on the USA.
    Put bluntly, there is no crisis with white America, working class or not.Whites remain a lwa abiding, tax paying, long suffering citizenshio, disinclined to make trouble and believing in America.Yes, pompous, pious Murray pontificates about such ephemeral trash such as church attendance and illegitimacy – but the well mannered and behaived Scandinavians do likewise.
    I still have 100% faith in white America and especially those who Murray tries to shit on (to atone himself), the blood and bone of America those who actually make the nation tick.They performed well in the past, when the call came, and I trust they will do well in the future.
    There are simply the wrong target.It is simply not them who are causing the trouble, murder, robbery, violence, mortgage frauds and allied dysfunction.
    Murray knows full well who's doing that.
    But he's too cowardly to say so.

    The man's an academical harlot.

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  • “The new upper class still does a good job of practicing some of the virtues, but it no longer preaches them.”

    Do as the Jew. Disobey what Jews say.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What's all this pompous bullshit about attending church 'making you a good person' – this is a meme I absolutely hate, as a committed atheist and Richard Dawkins fan.
    Not only I cannot stand christianity, even more I cannot stand people making a big show of attending church to pose as being 'morally superior'.

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